ToneWars: Connecting Language Learners and Native Speakers through Collaborative Mobile Games

Andrew Head, Yi Xu, Jingtao Wang

In this paper, we present ToneWars, a collaborative mobile game for learning Chinese as a Second Language (CSL). ToneWars provides a learning experience that combines mastery learning, microlearning, and group-based interaction between CSL learners and native speakers. The game explores how unique input modalities, like touch gestures and speech recognition, can improve language acquisition tasks on mobile devices. We report the design motivations and lessons learned through the iterative design process. We believe many insights from developing ToneWars are generalizable to designing productive language learning technology. Through a 24-participant (12 CSL and native speaker pairs) user study, we found ToneWars provides learning benefits for second-language learners and engages native speakers.

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